As a member of Alun Ffred’s party who blogs regularly on Welsh language issues, I’m more than willing to recognize that your party has an honourable record of supporting & encouraging the language. After all S4C was established under a Tory government, as was the first Welsh Language Act.
I’m also happy to endorse your suggestion that it’s not in the interests of the language to be seen as the sole preserve of my own party. The language belongs to all the Welsh people whether they speak it or not, & people from right across the political spectrum should be encouraged to support it. The support that you & other Welsh Tory politicians have given to the language is testament to the eclectic nature of political support for it. I’m even willing to give Jeremy Hunt the benefit of the doubt, & accept your assurances that Mr Hunt recognizes the importance of S4C to the language – although I suppose that it wouldn’t be wholly surprising if he wasn’t 100% au fait with the intricacies of the Welsh language & the structures that support it four months into his spell as UK culture minister.
Having said all that, the support that you and other members of your party give to the Welsh language does bestow a responsibility on you, as it does on the rest of us. This responsibility involves recognizing that the survival of the language involves proactive support at all levels of government. In practical terms this means that as a general principle, supporters of the language should recognize that the structures that support it should be protected insofar as that is possible, & use whatever influence they have to protect those structures. S4C is a vital component of that support structure.
People of my generation who took part in the campaign for a Welsh language TV channel in the late seventies remember well the feeling then that the Welsh language was in terminal decline, & that the numbers & percentage who spoke it would continue to decline until both reached negligible levels. Happily this vista failed to materialise, & the prospects for the language have improved considerably since that period. It isn’t difficult to see why – in contemporary Wales the language is seen by many as relevant, dynamic and modern - and is thus linked to personal and collective aspiration. This is the complete antithesis of how the language was viewed for much of the last century. S4C – whatever we might think of it’s Authority, & whatever we might think of it’s corporate behaviour, has been a key component of the set of factors that came together to transform people’s attitude to the language & their understanding of it’s relevance to their lives.
It goes without saying that severe cuts in the broadcaster’s budget would have a severe effect on the channel, & more importantly on the way people perceive it. I commented earlier on the responsibility that all of us who support the language have to ensure it’s well being. At the risk of causing offence by suggesting that Mr Hunt’s understanding of the importance of S4C to people’s perception of the language might be limited, I’d like to implore on you & the other Welsh Tory MPs to reiterate to him S4C’s key importance in supporting the language, & to keep any cuts to a minimum. I realize that many Tory MPs are busily lobbying to protect various recipients of public money at the moment. But knowing as I do that the language is as important to you as it is to me, and knowing that at this point representations by Tory MPs carry far more weight than those of politicians from other parties, it’s of the utmost importance that you utilise that influence to it’s maximum at this juncture.
Failure in this regard would be extremely detrimental to the Welsh language, but it would also be detrimental to the reputation your party has built of being broadly supportive of the language and it’s interests. Political parties are usually judged by their most recent actions, & your party will be judged harshly by the Welsh people and by history if you inflict the ruinous cuts that are being considered at the moment on the S4C budget.
Glyn, please see what you can do, and encourage other Welsh Tory MPs to do all they can do. Much depends on your success.
Monday, October 04, 2010
Annwyl Glyn _ _ _
Mae blogiadau cyfrwng Saesneg yn brin iawn ar flogmenai, ond 'dwi'n gwneud eithriad heddiw. Copi o'r isod o sylwadau 'dwi wedi eu gadael (mewn tri rhan oherwydd cyfyngder lle) ar flog yr aelod seneddol Toriaidd, Glyn Davies. 'Dwi'n gobeithio bod y sylwadau yn cyfleu pwysigrwydd sydd i bobl fel Glyn geisio defnyddio eu holl ddylanwad i amddiffyn y bygythiad sylweddol mae S4C yn ei wynebu ar hyn o bryd.